Boeing seals pact to expand Alsalam Aircraft

 - November 11, 2007, 6:37 PM

Boeing’s acquisition of a controlling interest in Alsalam Aircraft Company of Saudi Arabia will be formally recognized on Tuesday, when senior managers from the two companies meet to reveal expansion plans. Alsalam grew out of an offset agreement with Boeing, but until last year the American company owned only 50 percent of the Riyadh-based MRO. It now holds 60 percent of Alsalam through the Boeing Industrial Technology Group, while Boeing International Support Systems serves as the vehicle to drive the expansion.

The partnership is expected to announce a new VIP aircraft maintenance division, and a boost to Alsalam’s technical training program for aspiring young Saudi engineers. The parties might also discuss a recent contract to add Link 16 capability to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) E-3 AWACS fleet. Alsalam already provides depot maintenance for the RSAF’s E-3s, as well as the large Saudi fleets of F-15 Eagle fighters and C-130 Hercules transports.

Two years ago Alsalam agreed to offer the C-130 Avionics Modernization Program (AMP) developed by Boeing for the U.S. Air Force, to international customers.
Notwithstanding that agreement, Alsalam will announce here that it will serve as prime contractor to upgrade three Saudi government C-130/L-100 transports, with the avionics package devised by CMC Electronics of Canada.

For the past 10 years, Alsalam has also been a major player in the UK-Saudi government Al-Yamamah program, providing as a subcontractor to BAE System depot-level maintenance on the RSAF’s fleets of Tornado fighter and strike aircraft, and Hawk and PC-9 trainers. But that activity is now moving out of Alsalam’s main facility at Riyadh, into new, purpose-built accommodation elsewhere, which BAE Systems is sponsoring as part of the new, yet-to-be-finalized Project Salam agreement. That will provide the RSAF with 72 Eurofighter Typhoon jets, an upgrade to the RSAF’s Tornado strike aircraft and new Hawk jet trainers.  

On the commercial side, Alsalam performs C and D-checks on various airliners, notably Boeing 747s and business jets.   

CMC to upgrade Saudi C-130s

Esterline CMC Electronics has started work on an avionics upgrade for three Hercules transports operated by the Saudi government. The contract could help the Canadian company secure a larger prize–the upgrade of the 50-strong fleet of Royal Saudi Air Force C-130s. So far, though, the agreement covers only three aircraft, a combination of C-130s and L-100s (the civil version of the C-130) that form part of the Saudi VIP fleet. Alsalam Aircraft will act as the prime contractor. The upgrade includes five displays, new radar, radios and autopilot.

In the UAE, CMC has teamed with Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (formerly GAMCO) to upgrade a C-130 and an L100-30 cockpit. CMC supplied a dual CMA-900 flight management system (FMS) as the core of the upgrade. The upgraded L100 can be seen here at the Dubai Air Show on the static display.